500BestSquareFried Eggplant Sticks With Marinara, Stuffed Artichoke Hearts, And Arancini @ Fausto’s

Fried eggplant sticks, encrusted with seasoned bread crumbs, served with marinara sauce on the side, begin many a New Orleans Italian meal. They are not as easy to make as they may seem. In the skillful hands of Rolando and Fausto di Pietro, they come out dark in color (because frying eggplant requires a higher oil temperature to make them come out crispy and greaseless) and bigger than average (because they shrink a lot in the frying). They serve enough for two to four people, but one person has been known to finish an entire order. Pair this with a stuffed artichoke or the arancini (balls made of marinara-tinged rice stuffed with cheese in the centers) and you have a meal, needing only a salad or maybe a small plate of pasta to finish it off. Good vegetarian meal.

Arancino at Fausto's.

Arancino at Fausto’s.

Fausto’s. Metairie: 530 Veterans Blvd. 504-833-7121.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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